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Politics

Obama car czar Bloom to step down end-August

Ron Bloom, President Obama's senior counselor for manufacturing policy, speaks about the U.S. auto industry from the White House in Washington June 1, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama’s top manufacturing adviser Ron Bloom will step down at the end of August, the White House said on Tuesday.

Bloom oversaw the restructuring of Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors, helping restore their profitability after multibillion dollar taxpayer rescues in 2009 that saved them from collapse.

“Ron Bloom’s leadership and expertise has helped us put America’s automakers back on the road to recovery,” Obama said in a statement.

One of his final public acts was to brief the White House press corp last month on a deal between the administration and top automakers to lift U.S. fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Bloom was appointed assistant to the president for manufacturing policy in September 2009. His goal was to aid the White House in revitalizing U.S. factory jobs. But the tepid economic recovery has hobbled hiring and U.S. unemployment remains high at 9.1 percent.

Obama frequently cites the auto rescue as evidence he is prepared to take politically unpopular decisions to protect U.S. manufacturers. But public anger over the bailout has lingered, with many Americans anxious about their jobs and struggling to make ends meet.

Reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Philip Barbara

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